[Rushtalk] Oh-Oh.......!!!

John A. Quayle blueoval57 at verizon.net
Tue Jan 8 21:29:42 MST 2013

Massachusetts can't account for over 19K welfare recipients

By Boston Herald January 8, 2013 8:04 am

Boston Herald - Red-faced state officials 
admitted last night they are trying to find as 
many as 19,000 missing welfare recipients -- 
after the controversial taxpayer-funded voter 
registration pitches the state mailed to their 
addresses last summer were sent back marked 
"Return to sender, address unknown."

The Department of Transitional Assistance 
contacted 477,000 welfare recipients who were on 
their books from June 1, 2011, to May 31, 2012, 
after settling a voter-rights lawsuit brought by 
Democratic-leaning activist groups that demanded 
an aggressive voter information effort by the 
state. That $274,000 push by DTA resulted in 
31,000 new voter registrations -- but revealed an 
alarming number of welfare recipients whose 
residency in Massachusetts can't be confirmed.

"DTA is in the process of contacting those 
clients for which a forwarding address was 
prov­ided to verify their addresses, as a change 
of address might impact their eligibility," a statement from the agency said.

DTA critics expressed astonishment at the 
agency's faulty address records -- which were 
only uncovered by accident -- saying it's further 
evidence that the electronic benefits system sorely needs reform.

"Wow," said state Rep. Shaunna O'Connell, 
R-Taunton, upon hearing of the number of returned mailings.

"The fact that 19,000 of these came back 
undeliverable tells me DTA has no idea where 
these people live, obviously, and is not doing 
the background checks they should be doing," O'Connell said.

"It goes to show this program is just fraught 
with fraud and abuse and needs a complete 
overhaul," said O'Connell, who has made her name 
on Beacon Hill as a leading legislator for welfare reform.

It was not clear last night how many of the 
missing clients have moved out of state or are 
otherwise no longer eligible to receive Massachusetts benefits.

DTA spokesman Alec Loftus said he did not know 
how many clients left forwarding addresses, and 
could not say what the state is doing to locate 
those who did not leave forwarding addresses, 
while their benefits continued to be paid through 
direct deposit to bank accounts.

Those recipients who did leave forwarding 
addresses but failed to respond to subsequent 
letters seeking confirmation were stripped of 
their benefits, Loftus said. Those actions took 
place last summer, but were only revealed late 
yesterday in response to a Herald request. Loftus 
could not say how many clients have been booted 
from the system as a result of the address snafu.

However, Loftus said last night the address 
database that was used in the mailings may have 
also "likely included many former clients who are 
no longer receiving benefits and may have moved 
to a new address, as well as applicants who were denied benefits."

Gov. Deval Patrick's office declined to comment.


_ percentE2 percent80 percent98missing percentE2 percent80 percent99

(c)2013 Boston Herald

Visit the Boston Herald at www.bostonherald.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services
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